How to choose Inverter and Battery for Home?

Power cuts are frequent almost throughout India. It is more so in villages and smaller towns. The larger metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, etc. generally do not experience many power cuts.

However, they face problems like voltage instability. Thus, almost every home in India has an inverter to cater to such emergencies.

A battery is a critical component of a home inverter without which the inverter is useless.

The battery’s quality determines the inverter’s output and lifespan. Hence, it becomes imperative for everyone to invest in the best batteries for their home inverters.

Points to Consider when Purchasing an inverter battery

Every Indian home would be having an inverter to provide power supply during power cuts. These inverters can last for up to six to eight years comfortably, depending on your usage.

However, inverter batteries do not last as long. Hence, they require replacement after around four to five years. Many people go for upgrading their inverters. Hence, there is a tremendous market for inverter batteries in India.

Selecting the ideal inverter battery for your home can be tricky. Though people go by word of mouth or previous experience and choose reputed brands like Luminous, Exide, V-Guard, and Amaron, one should know how to calculate the exact requirements for your home.

You should understand that every household has its specific requirements.

If a particular inverter battery works fine for your neighbor, it does not entail that it will do the same for your home.

Understand your power requirement

Before you purchase an inverter or a battery, you should be clear as to the electrical appliances you will connect to the inverter. Generally, people connect their LED lamps, tube lights, Ceiling fans, LED TVs, and even refrigerators to the inverter.

Let us calculate the average consumption of the average Indian household.

  1. Fan – 70 watts
  2. Tube Light – 60 watts
  3. CFL – 25 watts
  4. One television – 120 watts 

Assume that you need three fans, three tube lights, one TV, and one CFL connected to the inverter all the time. Thus, your requirement should be 535 watts.

VA rating of your inverter

VA rating denotes the Volt Ampere rating of your inverter. It constitutes the voltage and current supplied by the inverter to your electrical equipment.

If we assume the inverter to work at 100% efficiency, the power requirement of the equipment connected to the inverter and the power supplied by it remains the same.

However, everyone knows that no inverter works continuously at 100% because the situation is never ideal all the time. The inverters work somewhere between 60% to 80%. We shall take 70% as the standard efficiency of your inverter.

Therefore, the VA Rating of the inverter is equal to the ratio of the power requirement and power efficiency.

In our case, the VA rating works out to 535W divided by 70%. It is equal to 765VA. Therefore, an 800VA inverter should be ideal for your home. 

Know your battery capacity

No inverter can work without a battery. The battery is responsible for storing electric current for the inverter to use during the power cut. Battery capacity equates to the amount of backup power it allows the inverter to provide. It is expressed as Ah (Ampere Hours).

Battery capacity  = the power requirement multiplied by the number of hours of backup divided by the battery voltage

Generally, the battery voltage is 12V.

In our example, we had calculated our power requirement as 535 watts per hour.

Therefore, if we require power backup for three hours, the battery capacity works out to 535W x 3 hours divided by 12V. It amounts to 133Ah.

Thus, you would require an 800VA inverter with a 150Ah battery to run comfortably for three hours. Is it not simple now to calculate the ideal battery capacity for your home?

In our review, you would have noticed that we had discussed batteries with capacities ranging from 120Ah to 200Ah. If you wish to increase the load, you can invest in an inverter with higher capacity and have more than one battery powering it.

Inverter batteries generally have 12V ratings. Therefore, a 24V inverter will need two batteries of 12V rating each, and so on.

Now, we are clear about the battery capacity to purchase for our homes. Let us now discuss the different types of inverter batteries available on the market.

Know your battery type

Three types of inverter batteries are available for your home inverter.

Flat Plate Battery

The flat plate batteries are lead-acid batteries that are ideal for areas experiencing low-duration but frequent power cuts.

The advantage of a flat plate battery is that they are comparatively cheaper than tubular inverter batteries. Besides, these batteries have a faster charging rate.

They need less time to recharge. At the same time, they do not last as long as the tubular batteries do. Hence, these batteries come with shorter warranties.

Tubular Battery

The tubular battery is also a lead-acid battery but is bigger when compared to flat plate batteries. These batteries are ideal for areas having power cuts for an extended duration.

The tubular batteries are perfect for places needing longer backup. Besides, these batteries have an extended lifespan.

They require less maintenance and hence, come with extended warranty periods. On the negative side, these batteries are expensive compared to flat plate batteries and require more storage space.

Tubular batteries are available in different sizes. The space constraints in your house determine the type of tubular batteries you choose.

  • The short tubular batteries are relatively smaller but more comprehensive than the tall tubular batteries. It is comparatively easy to carry them and store them.
  • The tall tubular batteries have lesser width but greater height than the flat plate and short tubular batteries. These batteries provide longer backup time and are ideal for homes that do not have space constraints.

Gel Battery

Compared to the tubular and flat plate batteries, the gel batteries are expensive. They deliver consistently better power backup for extended periods.

These batteries contain a crisscross gel structure inside the containers to prevent the acid from settling down. Thus, they offer more power backup per cycle.

The advantage of a gel battery is that it is environmentally friendly. These batteries emit minimum harmful gas into the room, thereby making your home/office healthier.

Besides, these batteries are fully sealed. Therefore, there is no spillage of acid. These batteries do not require water top-up, and hence they are maintenance-free. Therefore, they are also referred to as SMF (Sealed Maintenance Free) batteries.

The downside of the gel battery is its cost. The fact that these gel batteries provide consistent power backup throughout their lives compensates for the cost factor.

Here are some crucial features to focus on when purchasing inverter batteries.

Warranty

Generally, there are two types of warranties, flat warranty, and pro-rata warranty. The warranty does not define the battery’s performance in any way, but you should be aware of the two types of warranties before you purchase the battery.

If you go through our reviews, you will find some batteries with warranties expressed as 36 months plus 12 months. It denotes that the battery has a flat warranty of 36 months and a pro-rata warranty for 12 months.

Thus, the customer gets free service for 36 months. If the customer faces any problem in the subsequent 12 months, the manufacturer replaced the inverter battery with a new one, available at a discount equivalent to a specified percentage of the old battery’s retail price.

Brand

It is always advisable to go for reputed brands like Luminous, Exide, Amaron, etc. These battery manufacturers offer better after-sales services like installation, maintenance, and replacement.

The Manufacturing Date

The manufacturing date is crucial in an inverter battery because the lead-acid batteries go through a natural charge/discharge process. If you find the manufacturing date to be old, you can ask the manufacturer to recharge the batteries before you purchase them.

An inverter battery requires intelligent handling to extend its lifespan. Automatically, it increases the longevity of your inverter.

Tips for better handling and maintaining your inverter battery

  • It is not advisable to expose your inverter batteries to direct sunlight. The best way is to have an inverter trolley that encloses the battery.
  • The battery should be away from all heat sources. It includes your refrigerator, air conditioners, and other equipment like fireplaces, etc.
  • Children should not be in a position to tamper with the battery connections. It can result in a nasty experience.
  • One should keep checking the float indicators from time to time. It is advisable to top up with distilled water well in time.
  • Though the battery contains lead acid, you should never add acid to the battery anytime.
  • Overcharging your lead-acid batteries can have disastrous circumstances. It reduces the battery lifespan. Today, you have batteries with high overcharge tolerance levels. It eliminates the issues of overcharging inverter batteries.
  • One should note not to keep the battery water indicators open. Dust can accumulate and damage the battery.
  • It is advisable to keep the inverter battery on the ground level. It can be a challenge to top up with distilled water if you keep the battery on top of the loft. Secondly, the inverter battery has massive weight. It is not a good idea to lift your battery and place it on the shelf.
  • One should always contact the authorized service center in an emergency. Though local technicians are available at a lower fee, it is advisable to call the authorized service personnel.
  • You should never discard old batteries. It is better to return the old non-functional inverter batteries to the authorized distributor when replacing the batteries.

Inverter Batteries – Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there anything more to consider when purchasing an inverter battery?

When purchasing a battery, you should look at the float indicators. They should be visible easily as they indicate when to top up the battery with distilled water. Secondly, you should ensure that the vent plugs are designed perfectly to regulate the gas pressure inside the battery. Finally, the terminals should have adequate insulation to prevent any chance of accidental electric shocks.

2. Can you purchase an inverter battery online?

Yes, inverter batteries are available on e-commerce websites. One should opt for a reputed brand like Luminous, Amaron, Exide, or V-Guard. You should ensure some of these factors when purchasing online.

There should be a returnable option available on the website. If you do not like the battery or if you receive a defective piece, you should be free to return it and get a full refund.

Generally, the installation is not available for free. Manufacturers charge an additional sum to send their qualified engineers to complete the installation.

It is also advisable to check out the specifications before ordering the battery online. This buying guide should help you in this regard.

One should check out the warranties available on the product, especially the flat warranty and pro-rata warranty.

Purchasing your inverter batteries from Amazon also entitles you to get discounts and easy payment options like EMI.

One should also ensure that the manufacturer provides round-the-clock service.

If you have old batteries at home, you can avail of the buyback option where the manufacturer repurchases them from you at a discount.

3. Which battery should you go for, tubular battery or gel battery?

It depends on your requirements and preferences. Both gel and tubular batteries are good when it comes to performance. Gel batteries do not need any maintenance at all. They last longer than tubular batteries but are comparatively expensive.

4. Can we connect the inverter batteries to solar power plants?

The standard inverter batteries cannot be connected to the solar inverter. You need a solar charge controlled to the standard inverter. The solar-ready batteries come with an in-built solar charge controller.

5. Should I opt for a flat tubular battery or a tall tubular battery?

It depends on the space available in your home. If you have space constraints, it is better to invest in a flat tubular battery as it occupies less space. Similarly, people living in areas that experience frequent but shorter power cuts can invest in flat tubular batteries. These batteries have quicker recharging times. On the other hand, the tall tubular batteries are ideal for a place having extended but infrequent power cuts. The tubular batteries are ideal for those not having any space constraints.

6. Why should you use distilled water for inverter batteries?

Tap water contains dissolved minerals, salts, and other impurities. These impurities can fill the pores and form a layer on the plates. It affects the electrochemical reaction that generates power inside the batteries. The presence of chemical ions reduces the battery lifespan.

Distilled water does not contain any dissolved minerals, salts, organic, or inorganic compounds that can harm the battery’s performance. Therefore, manufacturers recommend using distilled water.

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